3 Tips to Kick Off Your Startup DIY Style

wade institute

In the second of our posts from the team at the Wade Institue of Entrepreneurship we explore how to bootstrap your business to get things off the ground.


At the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship, we’re all about seeing great ideas make it in the world. While there are many important steps to becoming a bold entrepreneur with the full toolkit to make your ideas happen, there are things we teach everyday which you can get started on right now.

1. Step it out with a Business Model Canvas

A business model canvas is a tool for establishing a clear and simple overview of your whole startup idea. It’s a great visual way to get down on paper what your opportunities and challenges are and where your idea sits within the broader marketplace and business world. This is the best place to start, without trying to tackle a 30-page business plan document first up.

It’s a great exercise for understanding all the elements of creating a successful business model, and it helps clarify – for yourself and anyone who may join your team – what you’re setting out to achieve. Check out these online templates to get you started.

2. Customer discovery – find out what people want

Some of the first need-to-knows for any startup idea centre around your customer. What problem do they need you to solve? What will they pay for it? The best way to find out is to ask them. The University of Melbourne Master of Entrepreneurship students who study at the Wade Institute speak to over 100 potential customers to understand the market, and you can too. Hit your local coffee spot or shopping strip and suss out what people really want.

Make sure you keep your questions open and focus on asking about the problems people face, rather than the solution you’re proposing. This way you’ll get more honest insights which may spark other ideas about a more effective solution.   

Remember: the magic data number is 100. If you’re going to invest your time and money in this idea, get a decent dataset of insights from at least 100 people so you can identify real trends within your audience.

3. Get prototyping – test, break, repeat

You need people to road test your ideas to know if they’re truly hitting the mark.

There’s loads of ways to validate your product or service early on without spending big. For products, we recommend entrepreneurs make a minimum viable product (MVP) or working prototype. Look up places near you which have a 3D printer for public use – some community centres, libraries and co-working spaces are starting to offer this for a lower cost – and make a model you and others can play with.

With tech ideas, have a great front-end experience for your customer but keep your backend manual as long as you can. People won’t know it’s all spreadsheets and human data entry in the background, just make a cheap, good-looking website for them to use now and invest in building out the tech later.

And, get your entrepreneur on! Spread that idea ASAP. Set up a website, social accounts and email signups — start taking people on the journey early. You might be months away from selling anything but the essence of your brand and what it’s all about is a story waiting for people to connect with. Find your super-customers and get them geared up for the launch now.

So there you have it: three ways you can get straight into starting. So what are you waiting for?

Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship is a leading centre for entrepreneurial training delivering programs to accelerate learning, creation and connection.

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